The showdown over President Donald Trump’s desire to end the Obama era DACA, or so-called “Dreamer” program has made it to the Supreme Court.
It is unlikely that SCOTUS will levy an opinion on the case before the end of the year, which means that their ruling will come in the midst of a presidential election year putting the high court at the center of one of the most politically charged issues since the start of President Trump’s term.
For the Trump administration and the Dreamers alike, it all comes down to the Supreme Court, where Trump picks Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch now sit. Federal appeals courts across the country have rejected efforts to phase out the Obama-era program known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, but the administration has looked to the high court for support.
“The administration has basically chalked up the fact that they are going to lose a lot of these cases in the lower courts,” said Thomas Dupree, a former top Bush Justice Department official and now an appellate attorney.
“But they’re playing the long game. I think that there are those in the White House and the Justice Department who have made a calculation saying, ‘Look we can absorb all these losses in the lower courts because we are going to win the endgame when this case gets into the Supreme Court.’”
It remains to be seen how the court will rule, however, on this complicated issue – which concerns the limits of one president trying to rescind the policies of his predecessor – but the confidence expressed by Dupree stems from Trump’s successful appointments of conservative Justices Kavanaugh and Gorsuch.
Created under an Obama-era executive order, DACA gives some undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children the chance to receive a renewable two-year period of deferred action from deportation and become eligible for a work permit.
It May All Come Down to Justice Roberts
While the Trump administration is hanging much of its hope for a successful repeal of DACA, many legal experts say it will all come down to Chief Justice Roberts. Roberts ruled against the Trump administration, in a June voting with his more liberal colleagues, to block a citizenship question from appearing on the 2020 census. The Los Angeles Times reported Monday that Dreamers’ “best hope for victory almost surely depends on” Roberts. CNN reported that lawyers were crafting their argument to appeal to one justice: Roberts.
But the L.A. Times pointed out that Roberts wrote in the travel ban ruling that the country’s chief executive oversees immigration enforcement. Roberts also handed two other immigration wins to the administration.